Spaghetti With Raw Tomatoes

Time 20 minutes
Yields Serves 4
Spaghetti With Raw Tomatoes

In plenty of rapidly boiling salted water, briefly cook the tomatoes just until the skins loosen, 10 to 15 seconds. Drain the tomatoes and rinse under cold water. Peel them, cut them in half crosswise and squeeze out the seeds and water. Chop them coarsely and place them in a wide serving bowl with the basil, and cover with the oil.


Cook the spaghetti in the same water until al dente, about 9 minutes, drain it and add to the tomatoes. Stir them together roughly until the mixture is cool. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir in a tablespoon of the cooking water.

This recipe from Italian chef Gianfranco Vissani hinges on a trick of technique--the rough stirring of the pasta and tomatoes. Vissani refers to this process as “mantecare,” the word used to describe beating cheese into risotto. It is collected on the Italian side of the Latini Web site and translated here. The key to it is using very ripe tomatoes.

Russ Parsons is a former food writer and columnist at the Los Angeles Times.
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